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Tropfest Winner Delights with Cappuccino Tango

28 January 2013

Tropfest Winner Delights with Cappuccino Tango

More than 8,000 picnicked on the lawn of The TSB Bowl of Brooklands last night to watch the sixteen short films selected to screen at the first TROPFEST NZ short film festival.

Dave Smith won MPA and NZFACT Best Director Award for his mini operatic “Cappuccino Tango,” as judged live by industry veteran John Barnett, writer/director Michael Bennett, actress Sara Wiseman and actor/director/producer Katie Wolfe.

As part of his prize, Smith will take a trip to LA for a 5-day immersion program to meet with film and television executives, agencies and production companies courtesy of the Motion Picture Association and NZFACT. He will also attend the American Film Market and receives a one year membership to Screen Directors Guild of NZ.

“It feels fantastic to be part of the first Tropfest NZ and our team is over the moon with the result!” says Smith

“Tropfest leaves things pretty open for your creativity to go wild and also you have a fair bit of time to prepare and produce your film. I think that openness of the event has made it a success elsewhere and I believe it’ll get the same reaction here.”

Smith directed a script written by Andy Bassett who also wrote the music. “There has always been a little friendly banter between coffee drinkers, decaf and tea drinkers and I think our film captures that.”

All the judges were blown away by the number and quality of the films entered.

"Tropfest has an international reputation as the world’s largest short film festival,” says CEO of South Pacific Pictures’ John Barnett. “Tropfest NZ is a wonderful platform to promote our talent to the world, and the high calibre of the inaugural entries and finalists confirm the depth of talent here."

Other winners were:

Wairoa Maori Film Festival & Nga Aho Whakaari Best Maori Director: Allan George for “Sounds Perfect”

Taranaki Arts and Festival Trust Best Actress: Hayley Robertson in “Stop”

BATA Best Actor: Greg Stubbings in “Sounds Perfect”

Of winning a best actors award Tropfest NZ ambassador, Martin Henderson, who also did a pre-recorded welcome for the opening, said “As an actor it is often difficult, but necessary, to stand out from the multitudes and winning best actor or actress will surely go a long way in announcing Hayley and Greg’s arrival on the scene. What a way to spruce up a résumé!

Founder and director of Tropfest worldwide, John Polson, opined that New Plymouth’s TSB Bowl of Brooklands has become his favourite venue.

“Tropfest began in a cafe in Sydney more than twenty years ago and now it is hosted in some of the most vibrant cities around the world. The TSB Bowl of Brooklands can proudly rank itself as one of the most foremost venues, not only for its natural beauty but also for its ability to showcase New Zealand’s most promising filmmaking talents.”

“New Zealand has long been recognised for its award winning creativity. I am delighted that what we had on display last night lives up to every inch of this reputation and reassures the promise of the future.”

Polson also announced the Tropfest Signature Item (TSI) for 2014 is GLASSES.

The TSI has been Tropfest tradition for two decades and is a nominated item that must be included in all film entries to indicate they were produced for the Tropfest competition. Filmmakers are invited to interpret the TSI in any way they choose.

With an audience that enjoys celebrating New Zealanders creative community, Tropfest NZ is shaping up to be a permanent fixture on the events calendar.

“We are delighted with the result of our first presentation of Tropfest NZ and we now begin the work to create an even bigger and better Tropfest in 2014!” says TAFT Chief Executive, Suzanne Porter.

Cappuccino Tango can be viewed at

And all the winners at

About Tropfest

Tropfest is the world’s largest short film festival. It began twenty years ago when director John Polson showed a six-minute film he made for under $100 at his local café (‘The Tropicana’) in Sydney for 200 friends and family. Since then Tropfest has become recognised as one of the world's most exciting launch-pads for emerging filmmakers.

Tropfest is known for securing the support of some of the biggest names in the international film community including Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe, Geoffrey Rush and Liev Schreiber.

The Tropfest NZ ambassadors include Sam Neill, Martin Henderson, Robyn Malcolm, Taika Waititi, John Barnett, Vincent Ward and Katie Wolfe.

Tropfest recently launched in Arabia and in the USA with Tropfest Las Vegas and Tropfest New York. More territories including China and South East Asia will be announced in 2014.

For more information visit

Tropfest founder, John Polson (L) with Tropfest NZ winner, Dave Smith (R)

LA based Kiwi actress, Melanie Lynskey welcomes the Tropfest NZ audience

Photos by Lisa Cruse

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